A simple question from the new guy ....

I have never listened to vinyl played with good gear. Are the pops and hiss still there when played on a good system? How about on a brand new record.....still there? I am constantly tempted to give vinyl a try, but I know the pops would drive me nuts if it is anything like I remember from long ago.
You will still get surface noise, although it can be minimized to a degree with good record cleaners. Somehow I find it easier to ignore than compressed dynamics... YMMV.
I have found that as the quality of my vinyl playback rig has improved the ticks and pops are far less noticeable, though there are still some there (almost like they are sort of disassociated from the music), and rarely do I hear hiss unless it's on the master tape (like on Mercuries, for example). The quality of the vinyl on today's re-releases (not talking about regular pop commercial releases) on the whole is consistently better than in the past, mainly because the companies doing the releases are careful about those things and the 180/200 gram pressings and Classic Records "Quiex" or whatever formulation do make a difference, but I have found there are still occasional ticks and pops on some new records. I would suggest that you make the effort to find a dealer or a local audiophile with a good vinyl set-up and listen on it in order to satisfy yourself, as there are some people who just cannot stand any extraneous noise, no matter how small it may seem to others.
Look (or in this case Listen) before you leap. There are some Audiogon folk who vehemently deny that any significant LP surface noise exists, and there are others, like me, who find that surface noise, to use your words, "drives me nuts". The only useful information to be gained by reading postings on this subject is the cost of the kind of playback equipment that the "no noise" faction uses and recommends, and the degree of skill and care which they employ to achieve optimum results.

You really need to listen to two different LP playback systems. One that you can afford, to decide whether you want to follow this path. One cost-no-object LP playback system, in case you win the lottery.

Digital audio is like a fun date. Vinyl audio is like getting married. It can be very rewarding, but be sure you know what you are getting in to!
Yes the pops and ticks are still there, which is the reason I've never bought a turntable. I've listened to a Rockport Sirius 2, basis 2500, VPI TNT hotrod 5(set up by Harry) and a number of other lesser tables and they all have pops and ticks that are audible from the seating area.
Here's the deal:

The trade-off is simply absolute dead silence with compressed dynamics, or a tiny bit of surface noise and the occasional static "sizzle" (if you will) with wide-open dynamics. Serious pops and what-not were most likely due to the owner not properly caring for the LP. If you have a clean, static-free record, you will hear some amazing stuff.

The way I finally came to the conclusion that analogue was far superior to digital, even though it was apparent I was hearing better sound with the vinyl from the get-go, was to play my vinyl copy of Michael Hedges' "Live on the Double Planet" and the CD version simultaneously.

The digital source was a DPA Renaissance CD player running through a DPA Bigger Bit DAC. The analogue source was a Nottingham Analogue Studio Horizon with a Rega RB300 arm and Grado Platinum Sonata cart. running through a Musical Fidelity X-LPS phono pre.

Then I just went back and forth, between the two, with the remote. It was a revelation - seriously. When you realize that what you thought was so special about a dead silent background (I would imagine tape and vinyl were cast aside so quickly because of this simple reason), compared to the incredible sound stage and overall resolution of vinyl, you want to kick yourself many, many times.

Cheers - have fun and good listening.
What I find interesting about the better vinyl playback gear is that it seems to minimize the importance to the music of those pops and ticks. They may be there, but they don't bug me.

Some TT systems seem to exaggerate surface noise. Perhaps this is because their system resonances fall in the same range as the pops and ticks, but whatever the reason, I would not want to live with them if I had the alternative of a good digital source.

However in my view it is not right to generalize and say all vinyl is subject to surface noise, therefore I can't relax as I listen to it and I won't consider vinyl for that reason. One day you may hear an analog system which makes the music so much more important than any noise that you feel you could enjoy living with it.
I have an audiophile friend who is into vinyl he has a JA Micheal Gyrodec, SME tone arm (I think), benz micro glider cartridge and cj ev-1 phono amp. I have listened to it and "Yes" you will still get the clicks and pops and surface noise in "general" with vinyl. Some albums will be very quiet while others will not. Also you will deal with warped/damaged records even when purchasing new. A record cleaning machine is a must if you want to get the most out of vinyl as cleanliness is the key to eliminating as many pops and clicks as possible and even then you will not (in general) get all the noise out.

I like you have also considered trying vinyl but when I hear all the hassles he goes through there is no way. I am all digital and since having the my SCD-1 upgaded with the Superclock 3/ Superclock power supply and the transport caps upgraded it is so good that my desire to even think about vinyl is gone. I would consider for asthetic purposes only if I was "extremely" wealthy.

And let's not forget that a lot of the pops and ticks are not really in/on the record, and can be eliminated by careful cleaning, applying Last if necessary, and (especially) using anti-static devices like carbon fiber record brushes.

Also, certain cartridges (mostly due to stylus shape, I presume) have a reputation for being quieter in the grooves.
They are there but not like you probably remember. I don't notice them unless I pay attention. Vinyl sounds so much better than ALL digital that we are willing to put up with the pops and inconveniences that go along with. We wouldn't tolerate it if it wasn't worth it. Once I got vinyl going my CD, SACD player took a back seat.

But if you can't handle the pops and noises then it may not be for you. I would prefer that to the digital edge and coldness in comparison to the "real", layered and somewhat warm sound of true analog.
The better your gear, the more pops, clicks & hiss you`ll hear. New records loose their virginity quickly & develop pops & clicks. Even scrupulous record care is like pissing into a strong head wind.
I have never heard hissing on an album unless it was on the original master recording. Cassette tape hiss is another story. I never could listen to cassette recordings due to the loud hissing. The Dolby noise reduction just took away to much of the highs. When you listen to an album today you will be amazed how much more musical and open it sounds compared to what your used to from your CD player. It just sounds better. Give it a try.
Vinyl is what I was raised on,I'm used to it. Yes you get pops and clicks but it's part of the package. Going into analog is costly, and maybe you'd be better off getting the best out of your digital source that you have. You don't list system but what I'm trying to say is if you have let's say 15,000 invested in a killer digital front end and you want to get into vinyl to egual that sound you will have to spend money on a
Record Cleaner
Cleaning Fluid and Brushes
And of course Records.
I try to get equal sound out of my Digital and Analog front ends. This allows me to buy the cheapest source a remastered Cd or a 18o gram pressing which in some sense makes me think I have more money to buy music. If you do go analog Make sure you get someone to do all the adjustments,pay extra for a Tonearm with a azimuth adjustment because someone who knows what they are doing can minimaze the noise from a misaligned cartridge and bad anti skating settings. If you buy a package deal,a TT, Cartridge.Tonearm don't assume that it is set up properly let someone do that for you. There are quite a few of these on Ebay and here. Things get misaligned in shipping,things get desroyed if not packaged properly and this is the cheapest route.

As you get better and better analog equipment, the cleanliness and condition of the record become the big factor in what accounts for and how much distortion there is. Obviously ticks and pops caused by surface impurities are the most obvious, but I have found that with clean, undamaged records, they are almost nonexistent. On the other hand, that old record you found stashed away in some coat closet, that looks like it's been cleaned with coarse grain sandpaper? Well that will sound wretched regardless of what you play it back on.
OK, I am convinced there may be more to vinyl than pops and surface noise. Gotta see what the fuss is all about. I recently learned of two good stores in the area. I think I will pay them a visit this weekend. Thanks to all!
I like to think I can give a balanced view on this one, insofar as I'm not a vinyl fanatic, but I owned a decent TT not so long ago (Rega P25), and have heard better still.

I got out of vinyl, not because I didn't appreciate its virtues (I did), but because I could stop buying cheap used records at a rate far beyond what I could ever hope to listen to, or conveniently store. I'm afraid cold turkey was the only cure for me...

All of the comments above about record cleanliness and variable quality and condition are perfectly apt.

That said, broadly speaking, a better playback system minimizes the impact of noise in the record; it tends to recede deep into the background, while sweet music comes to the fore...Good luck and be careful out there...
and useless for many, many playings if they are handled carefully and played on decent equipment that is set up properly. I have records that I have owned for nearly 40 years and played dozens and dozens of times, and they still play with no problems and only a couple of pops or clicks. Those are probably due to something that was attracted to the vinyl from static electricity as it was playing, and not part of the record itself.

It is totally wrong to say that they "lose their virginity quickly and develop pops and clicks". This is nowhere near the truth, unless you are careless and get them dirty.
Waaaaay back when, when I had a turntable that worked, I found that Perm-O-Stat by Stanton was excellent for basically ELIMINATING static. This meant that the records got a LOT less dirty. I cannot say whether the application of this stuff decreased the dynamic range and/or resolution of the albums, but from a convenience standpoint, I considered it a HUGE positive. I don't know whether this stuff is still even made.
Talk about can't see the forest for the trees!;)-~ I think enough has been said if you want to count 0's & 1's instead. Or take a leap and find out why every good digital source is still measured against that "analog" source. You just might be smitten, good listening.
Depends on whose LP.All those great titles on Riverside and Prestige were bought out by a company called Galaxy and start to degrade (even with a perfect condition set up) within 1-3 plays and those can be bought for $10 and should be avoided like Bird Flue.But a $35 Classic Record of a classic Blue Note by Classic Records or Absolute Analogue will resist this.And though it isn't cheap their is a product called LAST.I have been told from someone that he has had Lp's brought up top him at shows that have been played 200 times but were treated each 50 plays with LAST preservative and they sound like MAYBE they've been spun half a dozen times.Even if it's an inexpensive rig like a Rega P3 for $500 or less you may have fogotten what proper harmonics and beuatiful muisc sound like.I dumped my LP player (a B&O in '83 when I graduated High School and CD's were coming out.But 7 or so years ago tired of seeing ttitles only availible ued on Ebay I took the plunge.Now unless they are trashed (say VG or VG+ on Goldmine rating scheme I don't nmotice noise at all.Like somebody folding candy wrapper ata movie.After just 4 moths of this $350 set up I had I was buyiunbg LP's like an ididoit o Ebay and tag sales and from stores bought a $2500 turntable ($500 more for cartridge) and even got a $500 cleaning machin used for $300.Though I have 3,000 CD's I enjoy my 3,000 Lp's much more.Digital be it Red Book (CD) has goten much beter with second or third editions of CD's using new tech like K2 20 bit processing and some SACD's and CD's can approach Lp's if you listen to jazz the way I do you'd much rather have the original 1957 LP or by a good re-issue of which there has been a real renaissance .Just don't get those crappy $8-$10 OJC (Original Jazz Classic) re-issues.They suck and develope npoise no matter what.Main reason is qaulity of vinyl in the late 60's through the early 80's was not virgin vinyl it was re-melt and mixed together.Yuck.Buy your self a turntable get a 180-200 gram LP from Rhino or Classic and have a balst.Who could it hurt?
I just recently added vinyl to my system. For me the improvement in dynamics has made it difficult to listen to
CD's. There is a lot more fussing with vinyl, but the sound for me is what I've always wanted. It may interest you that I didn't have go very expensive to get this sound. Al together TT tonearm etc. about $3000.00. My favorite record which I got new was $2.00: cheap music. Just some things to consider.
Three words for you - Half Price Books.

Over time, I purchased all my Bill Evans albums (18 in all) there for no more than $4.95 a piece, and they're all in great condition. Okay, there was one that was $17.50 - "Bill Evans at Town Hall" - but c'mon.

Cheap music that sounds better than more expensive music - it's a no brainer.
Where do you live? There are bound to be audiophiles with good vinyl setups near you who would be happy to share their experiences. Personally, I have not found the whole pop/click issue to be significant compared to the improved quality of vinyl over digital but that's just my opinion.
P.S. you also need a very effective record cleaning system or just forget about vinyl. It sometimes takes me 3 or 4 cleanings of old jazz records from the 50's before I get them to the point where there is acceptable noise ( vinyl is never perfectly quiet because the source was not perfectly quiet) but on 90% of my old records the level of noise (pops/clicks etc) is so low compared to the dynamics of the music that I think anyone would prefer them to CD.
You've already gotten great technical advice from
the above posts.I just want to reinterate that analog sounds so much better to me in terms of 3-d imaging and timbre.That the pops and ticks are insignificant.

The only thing that matters to me is hearing wonderful music.If , the noise from a analog frontend was that bad there is no way I would spend my $$$ on it.

I have a cary 306 sacd player and to my ears it is the best digital i have heard.However, I still prefer my analog frontend.If I have a choice on source thats what I go with.The Cary is there for music I can't get on vinyl.